Ideas about Identity

In Unit 1, we begin our investigation of identity by exploring some concepts used in discussing identity and some theories about how identity works.

Your written work for this unit will culminate in a 4-page personal essay in which you respond to one of the course readings by relating it to your own experience and ideas about identity.

Skills Focus for Unit 1


  • Establish a motive for your writing (an impetus for your remarks) by responding to another writer’s proposition


  • Vividly describe a personal experience
  • Analyze/interpret the experience you describe and explain how it relates to a source idea about identity
  • Achieve balance between concrete details and abstract claims, specific examples and generalizations


  • Choose a relevant source idea and meaningfully relate it to the personal experience you discuss in the essay
  • Accurately and succinctly paraphrase the source idea


  • Edit to unify and differentiate paragraphs, giving each ¶ its own purpose and using the white space between ¶s to signal movement of thought; break up or combine ¶s or move sentences around so that each ¶ is centered on one key point

Sentence Style

  • Edit to replace bland verbs and multiword verbal expressions with vivid verbs